CAPE TOWN – In-form Amazulu are looking to feast on the raw carcass of Mamelodi Sundowns at they prepare to welcome the league-leaders to their “slaughterhouse” at Kings Park on Wednesday.
Sundowns are fresh off a rare defeat when they were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup semi-finals by Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila on Sunday in a penalty shootout, while Amazulu are enjoying their best run in the league in decades.
Furthermore, under the guidance of Bafana Bafana’s leading ever marksman Benni McCarthy, the Usuthu have transformed Kings Park into a fortress. They have not been defeated at home since January 13 that includes a stretch of five matches. Overall Amazulu have lost just once in their last 13 matches.
“We call it (Kings Park) the slaughterhouse and everybody that comes here we want to slaughter. We working hard on our home ground advantage,” goalkeeper Veli Mothwa said on Monday.
“Yes, Sundowns are a big team, but at the end of the day it’s 11 against 11 on the field. The names don’t play. It’s only players that play. We are preparing like we would for any team.”
This is arguably Amazulu’s best chance of lowering the Sundowns flag. The Brazilians, who are still the only unbeaten team in the Dstv Premiership, are undoubtedly weary after their Nedbank Cup exertions prompting co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi to say after the TTM penalty shootout defeat: “If we knew we were going to lose, it would have been better to lose in the 90 minutes.”
If Mngqithi’s statement sounds rather bizarre its due to the heavy schedule that the triple league champions have to endure. Not only did they endure 120 minutes prior to the shootout on Sunday, but it also came just two days after another high-intensity Cup quarter-final clash against Orlando Pirates.
They are arguably victims of their own success, though, as their progression to the Nedbank Cup semi-finals coincided with the progression to the CAF Champions League quarter-finals last week.
But with Amazulu breathing down their necks and able to trim Sundowns’ lead to just three points with a victory in Durban tomorrow, Mngqithi knows his players need to be up for yet another stern challenge.
“We have another big match on Wednesday. But there is nothing we can do about this. The players know their responsibility in all these fixtures,” Mngqithi said.
“We are playing all these matches because of their successes. So as much one complains that we should not have had this extra 30 minutes, but we fully understand what is expected of us. It’s not going to be easy in Durban.”